Comparable statements, with a variety of emphases and language, can be found in "Renewing the Earth," a U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops statement from 1991. Not content to simply rest with well-intentioned proclamations, the Council created resource kits for local parishes with names like "God's creation and our responsibility" and "Renewing the Face of the Earth," and included material to enable theology to become part of the daily life of a local church: source material for sermons, precise and accessible summaries of the church's teachings, suggestions for prayer and worship, opportunities for environmental action, and examples of such action taken by other parishes. The kits, mailed three times to each of the 19,000 U.S. parishes, strongly emphasize that, as the pope had stated clearly, justice for humans and justice for nature are intertwined.

Thus Santorum's virtual ignoring of environmental issues—check his website for statements of environmental concern and if you find even one, let me know—may be correct or incorrect, depending on your point of view. But it is not orthodox Catholicism, at least not the morally, politically, and spiritually serious Catholicism of 2012, one that has been reshaped by the reality of a global environmental crisis. It is as if Santorum might support kings over democracy because the Church did so in 1750, failing to notice that the Church had changed its thinking about the role of common people in political life.

If the devil, as it is said, can quote scripture to his own purpose, so can political candidates. Is it that hard to see what those purposes are? And which social forces (corporations) and destructive cultural forms (consumerism) are really the Master such candidates serve?